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  • Writer's pictureDr. Brandon

3 Mistakes Runners Make that Lead to Injury, Time off from Running, and Missed Races

If you are a runner, you know just how much being able to lace up the sneakers and hit the trail or sidewalk means to not only your health and fitness but also your sanity. The last thing you want is to be told that you need to take 6 weeks(or more) off from running just to get foot pain from plantar fasciitis, knee pain, hip pain from bursitis, or low back pain to calm down. Apart from staying healthy for many, running with others is their “adult time” away from the pressures of work and home and losing this because of an injury is not on their list of things to do. In addition, the 6 weeks that the doctor wants you to take off(if they’re not telling you to stop running altogether) will usually be added on to once you get running again because while rest may have doused the flame of the injury, it has not dealt with the reason you were injured and got hurt in the first place. So, once you start running again, the painful swelling in the knee, the agonizing first step out of the bed, or not being able to sleep on a hip flares again leading to more time off, more stress, weight gain, and loss of something you love doing.

So, today we're talking about the top 3 running faults that often lead to pain and injury and often lead to time off at the gym or with running and can even lead to stopping running altogether.

These are often caused by weakness at the hips including weak glutes, outer thigh muscles, and quads which often leave the foot or knee at the mercy of the impact stride over stride. Or, you could be dealing with loss of mobility or stiffness at the hips or ankles and it can lead to several conditions. The most well known is Runner's Knee. Runner's Knee also goes by a couple of other names such as Jumper's Knee and Patellofemoral Pain Syndrome or PFPS for short. In addition, whether it is weakness or stiffness, it can lead to plantar fasciitis, ankle sprains, hip bursitis, low back pain, sciatica, and even neck pain.

These 3 Faults all have technical names but for our purposes, we'll call them the scissor, the whip, and the stomp and in the video, I’ll explain how each of these run faults can lead to injury, time off from running, and more.

The Scissor

In the video above, you'll see the feet crossing over in a scissoring motion. This is typically due to either a training problem(i.e. you've never been taught differently on how to run) or a hip weakness issue from either the muscles being unable to stabilize your knee and hip when you run because they don’t have the strength to do so. It can also be that the hip hasn’t been trained to resist that motion and so your running pattern causes the body to want to bring the leg more in line with the body to try to stabilize your running. Unfortunately it causes stress to the bottom of the foot through pronation and can lead to plantar fasciitis, runners knee, and IT band syndrome due to the excess load placed on those areas.

The Whip

The second video explains another common run fault that many call the whip. The Whip has hip weakness in common with the scissor and instead of the legs crossing in front, you get more of a recoil as you push off which whips the foot out to the side. This causes the knee to collapse inward(knock knees) which can make the area around the kneecap swollen and painful. There’s also an area just below the knee on the inside that can get quite tender with just light pressure. Plus, this run fault can cause IT band syndrome, hip bursitis, and low back pain.

The Stomp

In the third part of the video you’ll learn about what happens when the hips are too stiff. While the scissor and the whip are usually hip stability issues, the stomp is mainly a hip stiffness issue along with some poor mechanics along the way. With the stomp, what you see in the video is that the runner is hitting with a flat foot and makes the runner lean forward with poor posture and this in turn drives all the weight straight down causing a larger force on impact which can lead to foot pain, knee, hip, and low back pain as well as plantar fasciitis. In this, the runner usually lacks both hip flexor strength(usually from having an office job that causes them to sit all the time) as well as a loss of hip extension, also because of sitting all the time and having the hips locked into not being able to extend. The stomp is probably most responsible for the neck and back pain in runners that we see at the clinic.

Tired Of Daily Aches And Pains Stopping You From Running or Exercising?

We speak to lots of people who come to us after battling aches and pains for months, if not years, and they have often tried a lot of other things which didn’t solve the problem…

They went to their family doctor, but were just told to take painkillers and rest…

They tried at-home exercises but it didn’t seem to make any difference…

They tried braces, or joint supports but the pain only got worse…

If you are frustrated with daily aches and pains, worried about things getting worse, then reach out to our team today.

Confused about where to start? We got you covered! That’s why we offer free consultations to help you get to the root of why you are dealing with stiffness, pain, or just not performing the way you need to.

During one of our free consultations, the Total Body Diagnostic, we offer expert advice about the worry and frustration of life-changing aches and pains – for FREE, in under 30 minutes.

If this article describes your story and you are looking for some help with overcoming hip pain, we offer FREE consultations, which give you the opportunity to come in and meet us and see for yourself how we can help you.

Here are just a few of the things you will learn in one of our free consultation:

  • What is the underlying cause of your pain? (hopefully nothing too serious!)

  • Roughly, how long will it take to fix the problem?

  • What to do to help – which doesn’t include painkillers, resting or surgery etc.

  • What other, natural, drug free methods are there to speed up recovery alongside treatment?

Our consultations are great for anyone that may be “unsure” if physio is right for them, and they give you the opportunity to ask questions and see for yourself if we can help you.

If you’d like one of our limited free consultation sessions, please click here to request your Total Body Diagnostic or CALL us on 850-765-2779 to make a no-obligation enquiry.

About the author

Brandon Alkire, DPT, CSCS, FMS, Cert. DN

Doctor of Physical Therapy and Strength Coach

Dr. Brandon is the owner and a Physio at Body Mechanix Physiotherapy and Fitness. Four of his favorite people call him daddy while he's been married to his other favorite person for over 18 years. He enjoys teaching martial arts and is a Mestrando in Capoeira while in the mornings, he can be found working out with the guys in F3 around town.

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